Making a start

first daff

Progress has finally started to take place on our allotment. We (along with the rest of nature) are about a month behind normal schedule, but I’m sure we’ll all catch up eventually. The easter weekend has been bitterly cold, but we carried on despite the snow falling around us on Good Friday. Carrying on regardless of the weather is what us gardeners do best. It would have taken torrential rain to have kept me away, and at least we didn’t have that. And there’s nothing like a bit of digging and pruning to warm you up.

beds dug over

The first few beds have been dug, ready for broad beans, onions and extra garlic which will go in shortly, and potatoes in a few weeks.

raspberry canes

raspberries mulched

The autumn fruiting raspberry canes have been cut back, and the crowns mulched with compost.

blackberries pruned

The blackberry bush has also been cut back. Technically, you are meant to only cut back those canes that fruited the previous year, but I’m finding with this one (Oregon Thornless), it’s so vigorous and rampant that it’s better to just cut the whole thing back each spring, and it seems to regrow and fruit fine. By autumn this will have engulfed the shed completely.

tarpaulin

Some of the beds at the top end have been covered over. This is lazy allotmenteering to some, but it’s a useful solution if there’s a patch you haven’t got time to dig over just yet. It will not only suppress any weeds growing under there, but also help to warm the soil up. The downsides are it is a bit unattractive, so I only use this method for a short while in winter and early spring, and it does also provide a perfect warm and safe breeding ground for slugs and snails, so beware.

garlic

The garlic which I feared had rotted away over winter is doing fine. It just needs a feed and a mulch. The grass path is growing well, so next time I give it a mow, I’ll use the grass clippings as a mulch along with some blood, fish and bonemeal.

parsnips

rude veg

Finally, a few parsnips to dig up, including some very odd looking specimens. This is the only harvest we have at the moment. The leeks have all gone, the carrots were non existent, we didn’t bother with cabbages (not being huge fans of it) and annoyingly the purple sprouting broccoli didn’t fair well through the harsh winter and had to be pulled out. We’ve also eaten the last of our potatoes and onions, so apart from anything in the freezer (mainly berries and sweetcorn) and a few dried beans, we’re all out of produce. Good job we’re not reliant on self-sufficiency, we’d be living on parsnip soup right now.

By the way, you can now follow my board of homegrown veg on Pinterest.

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